However, Saudi Arabia also revealed that they have banned beIN Sport, the network at the heart of the piracy issue, who are the Premier League’s middle eastern broadcaster, from operating in the Kingdom. The Qatari-based broadcaster described the decision as “nonsensical on every single level”, but BBC sports editor Dan Roan believes this is not the end of the takeover.
What did he say?
Writing on the BBC, Roan said: “By permanently preventing Qatar’s beIN from broadcasting in the country, Saudi Arabia’s authorities have ensured there is currently no legal way to watch Premier League football.”
He added: “Well-placed sources suggest that this is a natural conclusion to a four-year legal dispute that pre-dates the current diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and should not be interpreted as a sign that the Premier League is poised to reject the Newcastle United deal.”
“It is also suggested the move may be because Saudi Arabia is planning to set up its own sports network to buy TV rights direct from the Premier League,” wrote Roan.
The wait continues
It has now been months since the Premier League entered negotiations with Saudi Arabia regarding their owners and directors test. With Richard Masters refusing and unable to comment on the process, only revealing a decision will be made “shortly“, fans have been forced to accept the agony of not knowing whether or not they can celebrate the end of Mike Ashley’s time at the helm.
Though Roan has suggested this latest twist does not directly impact the Kingdom’s takeover bid, it is yet another example of the power struggle at play, which the Premier League and Newcastle United have been sucked into.
As Manchester City have discovered with their recent successful appeal against UEFA’s two-year Champions League ban, having wealthy owners does not automatically bring about smooth sailing.
Having been forced to wait for months to find out whether Newcastle’s prospective new owners will be allowed to buy the club, along with objections from Amnesty International and others, the Magpies are already becoming accustomed to what could be in store if the deal is allowed to be completed.